Politburo meeting. Poland’s continuing problems; requests for economic assistance.
[R 14 January 1982, Politburo, para 2]
[page one of five]
MEETING OF CPSU POLITBURO
14 January 1982
Comrade L.I. BREZHNEV
Comrades in attendance:
Yu.V. Andropov, M.S. Gorbachev, V.V. Grishin,
A.A.Gromyko, A.P. Kirilenko, A.L. Pelshe,
M.A. Suslov, A.A. Tikhonov, D.F. Ustinov,
K.U. Chernenko, P.N. Demichev, V.V. Kuznetsov,
B.N. Ponomaryov, V.I. Dolgikh, , M.V. Zimyanin,
2. Summary of talks with Comrade Czyrek, Politburo member of PZRP, Foreign minister of the Polish People’s Republic
Martial law in the Polish People’s Republic has already lasted a month. The first results are available. As Jaruzelski says, the counter-revolution is now crushed. The tasks ahead, however, are more complicated.
After introducing relative stability in the country, the Polish comrades must now resolve problems, one might say, of a strategic character – what to do with the trade unions, how to revive the economy, how to change the consciousness of the masses, etc.
The most important question is the situation within the PZPR. Our friends are trying to find a solution. No doubt, Jaruzelski does not intend to disband the party or to change its name, but he can exploit martial law to carry out a sweeping purge. This might yield good results.
In general one gets the impression that the general as a political actor is very strong and is able, on most occasions, to find proper solutions. Sometimes it seems that he is too cautious and acts, more often than is necessary, with an eye to the West and the Church. But in the current situation head-on attacks can only ruin things. Along with firm, hard-line measures on matters of principle, one also needs flexibility and circumspection. It’s good that Jaruzelski is studying the Hungarian experience in struggling against counterrevolution.
All of us clearly understand that the decisive precondition for the full stabilization of things in Poland must be a revival of the economy. In Czechoslovakia after 1968 political efforts made headway precisely because the counterrevolution had not affected the economic sphere. In Poland just the opposite is true.
In this context we face a difficult question. We are already stretched to the limit in our capacity to help the Poles, and they are making still more requests. Perhaps we can do a bit more, but we certainly can’t give a lot more.
Still, we must of course answer Jaruzelski’s letter, explaining in a comradely way what we can and cannot do. By all means we must precisely carry out our agreed deliveries in the first quarter, which for the Poles will be the most difficult winter months. …
Incidentally, the food situation in Poland is not so bad. There is enough bread in the country, and they must find a way to motivate the peasantry and to get them to work, arranging, as we used to say here, the alliance between the city and village.
The Polish leadership also continues to count on help from the West. Well, in principle we can’t be against that, although, to be honest, it’s doubtful that Western countries are about to start providing material assistance to a military regime. They undoubtedly will try to extract concessions, which means we must be especially vigilant.
Jaruzelski is raising another question, of whether he should accept help from the Chinese. Well, why not? In the process China will disassociate itself from the USA and its economic sanctions.
In conclusion, one might say that the Polish question will be at the centre of international politics for a long time to come. That is why our Polish commission has continued to work as actively as it has been up to now.
[The Politburo then voted on a proposal, drawn up by the USSR Council of Ministers, to support construction of a metro system in Warsaw.]
3. Comrade Jaruzelski’s letter, 3 January 1982
BREZHNEV. […] In the letter, as you see, Comrade Jaruzelski expresses deep gratitude for the fraternal aid the Soviet Union has provided to the Polish People’s Republic. At the same time he appeals for the Soviet side to confirm the scale of supplies for 1982, which were contained in the draft minute on coordinating the plans of the two countries
for oil, petrol and oil products. The supply of oil in 1982 will be maintained at 13 million tons; oil products at 2.94 million tons; and the maximum level of fuel supply will be assured for the first quarter of 1982.
Comrade Jaruzelski then says he has appealed to the general secretaries of the Central Committee s of the Hungarian, Bulgarian, Rumanian and Czechoslovakian Communist Parties to provide Poland with essential economic aid and, in particular, to supply the domestic market with basic agricultural and industrial commodities.
We have returned more than once to the question of additional measures to support the Polish People’s Republic. I have raised this issue now simply as part of an exchange of opinions. Obviously, this time also we cannot refuse the Poles everything; we must have a look around and help them in some way. Therefore, I am asking comrades, on the one hand, to speed up the examination of these issues and present the relevant materials to the Politburo. On the other hand, I would ask that we try to resolve certain positions positively. […]
BAIBAKOV. I would like to raise two issues, Leonid Ilych. One, as concerns additional supplies of oil. I have very attentively examined all our oil reserves and it does not seem at all possible to find additional supplies of fuel for the Polish People’s Republic. It seems to me that we are supplying Poland with a sufficient quantity of oil products and they can get by with what we are providing.
The second issues concerns the supplies of grain for baking bread. Poland has grain. This year their harvest was not bad yet the [State] purchases of grain from a better harvest proved significantly lower than last year.
ANDROPOV. They are asking for a certain quantity of grain now, which they will return in the second quarter of this year.
SUSLOV. In other words, they are asking not for more grain but for a loan.
KIRILENKO. Of course, it is very difficult at present for them to get any quantity of grain from other countries although they have bought a certain amount in Canada.
BREZHNEV. If there are no objections we might adopt the following resolution:
Instruct the USSR Council of Ministers, USSR Gosplan and the Ministry for Foreign Trade to consider the requests laid out in Comrade Jaruzelski’s letter, bearing in mind the exchange of opinions at the session of the Politburo, and to make the relevant proposals to the CPSU Central Committee.
The resolution is adopted.